Saturday, 21 September 2013

ECME september

The music of Kenyan children is as diverse as the peoples who make up the Kenyan society. What music do Kenyan children perform? Where do they perform this music?


Kenyan children attend at least 3 years of preschool education. The preschool is one of the environments where music is performed on a daily basis, for various reasons. These include the application of music to enhance learning of other areas such as language and numbers, as well as the use of music as a facilitator of social development. Notably, there is a session set apart for Music and Movement once a week. In this session, music is not just a facilitating subject, but is to be appreciated and enjoyed in its own right.


Most preschools are privately owned, or are maintained partly by the government and the local communities. Apart from those in upmarket areas of urban centres, a good number face challenges spatial challenges. A tour of most classrooms will reveal learning areas and certain corners such as 'shop'; spaces for toys such as wood blocks and other simple toys. However, there are few schools with 'music' corners. Much of the musical activities therefore take place in the playground. Music and movement programs may be described in general as a re-enacting of the traditional playground, where children learned to sing and play together before the onset of formal education.


Within the playground, children sing with movement and games. Circle singing games abound, with teachers joining in and providing support, or standing on the side lines and cheering on the children in their performances.


The music performed in the playground, especially in urban areas, is mainly indigenous Kenyan singing games translated into Kiswahili, the country's national language. Preschool teachers in urban areas prefer to teach songs in either English or Kiswahili, due to the  perceived dynamics involved in teaching multi-ethnic and even multicultural groups songs from the over 42 ethnic communities of Kenya. There are also popular songs with catchy tunes whose lyrics induce play and playful activities. One such song is the popular Jambo,  a greeting song, which is now known far beyond Kenya's borders.


For the most part, the philosophy underpinning Music and Movement performance in preschool education is that music is to be enjoyed in community, with call and response songs as the most popular. When contemporary musical styles are introduced, they also reflect the sense of community and the importance of everybody's participation.


In order to fully appreciate and celebrate the diverse musics of children's worlds, an understanding and appreciation of cultural influences on not only children but educators and families, is necessary in order to ensure that children begin their musical journeys from a point of understanding that is comfortable and familiar to them. As they grow and encounter other musical traditions, they have within themselves a rich repository of music that will enrich their lives.


Dr. Elizabeth A. Andang'o,

Music Educator and Researcher in Early Childhood Music Education,

Kenyatta University,



Thursday, 19 September 2013

ECME september 2013

Early Childhood Music Education


July 15-19, 2014 Brasilia


Theme: 'Listening to Diverse Musical Beginnings'


Venue:The Universidade de Brasilia, Departimento de Musica

Brasilia, Brazil



The July 2014 ECME Seminar will be particularly significant as the community of researchers, scholars, practitioners and students reflect on the diverse musical beginnings of young children from all the continents. New developments, especially in the field of musical beginnings at home, in school, and in communities, including the role of technology and media in children's musical beginnings, will be presented.  We will look at pedagogies of the world and share collaborative and constructive models. Creative and critical thinking, in musical beginnings and in teacher education, will be a theme within the seminar.



The ECME seminar brings together experienced and early career researchers and practitioners, who challenge, enrich and equip one another. This international forum also brings together diverse cultural perspectives on children, childhood and music education. Modes of presentation range from research papers, posters and workshops to symposia and practice papers. The sharing of songs and games from a range of cultures is also a feature of the ECME seminar. Ongoing international initiatives promise to foster meaningful collaborations among countries, regions and continents.


We hope to meet you in Brasilia and to transform our dream - music education for all children 0-8 years - into a most extraordinary reality.




Margré van Gestel

Chair Early Childhood Music Education 2012-2014 (ISME)